Story posted: Thursday, 30. July 2009 by Rafael Ben-Ari
Ashkelon or Ashqelon is a coastal city in the South District of Israel. The ancient seaport of Ashkelon dates back to the Bronze Age. In the course of its history, it has been ruled by the Canaanites, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Persians, the Egyptians, the Muslims, the British and the Crusaders. It was destroyed by the Mamluks in 1270 and fell into disuse.The modern city of Ashkelon grew out of the Arab town of al-Majdal also Majdal and Migdal. In 1596, it was a village of 559 Muslim households, and in 1931, 6,166 Muslims and 41 Christians were living there. By 1948, the population had grown to 11,000, when the city became the forward position of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in Gaza, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.After intense Israeli attacks, most of the population was forced to flee to Gaza along with the retreating Egyptian Army, and the city was occupied by Israeli forces on November 5, 1948. The remaining 1000–2000 Arab residents were forced to leave or were taken to Gaza Strip refugee camps by the Israelis, who began settling Jewish immigrants and demobilized soldiers in the refugees houses. The city now has a population of 108,900.The name of the shallot and the scallion derives from the name of this ancient city. Photos by Rafael Ben-Ari/Chameleons Eye
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